Tartiflette: The Cheesy French Potato Dish You Should Know

Even if you're a big proponent of potatoes au gratin you've probably never heard of its Alpine cousin, tartiflette. This decadent dish from the Savoy region of France is made of potatoes, lardon (bacon), onion and a raw cow's milk cheese called Reblochon, notes Serious Eats. Everything cooks together, often in a cast iron pan, creating a fatty, cheesy, rich, sumptuous potato dish, that's perfect for a cold day. Here's the most interesting part, though. 

This dish was created as a marketing ploy for Reblochon cheese to try and counteract their diminishing sales in the 1980s, per InTheSnow.com. If you see any recipe for tartiflette, it explicitly calls for Reblochon cheese. Only trouble is, if you live in the U.S. you can't actually get Reblochon cheese. Due to its shorter than the FDA would prefer aging time (just 50 days,) Reblochon cheese is not sold in the U.S. per The Takeout). So what is one to do if you're not planning an Alps ski trip this year and you'd like to make tartiflette at home?

There is a worthy cheese substitute

According to the New York Times you can use another soft cow's milk cheese like a brie or camembert in lieu of the Reblochon, which is currently unable to be imported to the U.S. If you break the rules and use brie or camembert, don't worry, your secret is safe with us. One of the main characteristics of Reblochon cheese is that it's a soft cow's milk cheese with a rind on it, per Serious Eats so as long as you've got another similar, tasty cow's milk cheese then you're all set to make tartiflette at home. 

The recipe itself is very similar to potatoes au gratin. It starts by crisping up some bacon in a pan and then adding onion with herbs and aromatics like thyme and nutmeg. Then the potatoes are added with a bit of white wine and cooked down until they're softer. Then crème fraîche and the cows' milk cheese are added, and the pan is transferred to the oven to bake. Once you're digging in, you'll be so happy you won't even care that you've bent the rules by using a different cheese.